D&D 5E The Decrease in Desire for Magic in D&D


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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
What is the nature of the form of a t-rex... its bipedall with tiny front legs.
And also the limited brain of an animal, acting on instincts like an apex predator, lack of ability to even think in language, and more. That is also its nature. Brain capacity and instincts are part of the physical brain and therefore form.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
People with amnesia retain their personalities.
And the memories are often suppressed (and so can be recovered). And to an extent real life personalities can be massively altered but it likely will involve some memory loss too and may be quite permanent. ( brain impairment of that sort is tricky. )
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
And also the limited brain of an animal, acting on instincts like an apex predator, lack of ability to even think in language, and more. That is also its nature. Brain capacity and instincts are part of the physical brain and therefore form.
Personality and alignment are likely in conflict with those instincts you mention twice (Which is the foundation of someone wanting to allow checks to fight things like those limits I suppose)
 




Voadam

Legend
Exactly what it says it does is make you into a copy of a beast, EXCEPT for alignment and personality. There is nothing written about memory being a third exception, so it isn't.
The spell does not say everything except alignment and personality. There is no phrasing of "everything" or "except".

It says the target's game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the chosen form. It says the target retains its alignment and personality. If there is something not covered by either I would say the spell does not change it.

Do you consider game statistics everything? Do you consider memory a game statistic?

My reading of "game statistics" is more limited.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The spell does not say everything except alignment and personality. There is no phrasing of "everything" or "except".
If you give me a list of items you have from A to Z and I say to you, "I'm stranding you on a desert island and you will retain C and X.", you aren't going to think that you get all the rest. The way English works you will realize that I'm giving you only those two items.

Regardless of how you interpret the spell, what I am saying is a correct interpretation of "It retains its alignment and personality."
Do you consider game statistics everything? Do you consider memory a game statistic?
Memory is not. Alignment is not. Personality is not. You get the game statistics of the beast and of the non-game statistics, you retain alignment and personality. That's it.
 

Voadam

Legend
That's false. "The creature is limited in the actions it can perform by the nature of its new form..." Nature of the form, not the form itself.

What is the nature of a t-rex?
What is the "nature of the form" of a t-rex... its bipedal with tiny front legs.
It does not say nature of the beast.
I am with Garthanos here.

Whether you retain your mind or not, the nature of the T-Rex form is the same. Big, bipedal, large head, tail, not so large arms.
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;)
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Alignment is not a game statistic? It is part of a monster's stat block and there are game effects that can trigger off it. Not a lot in 5e, but there are.
It has no anything to it. You can erase it and nothing changes. Tiny has mechanics. Hit points have mechanics. Speed has mechanics. Damage has mechanics. Alignment? Nope. It's not a statistic any more than personality is.

A few magic items don't change that.
 

Voadam

Legend
It has no anything to it. You can erase it and nothing changes. Tiny has mechanics. Hit points have mechanics. Speed has mechanics. Damage has mechanics. Alignment? Nope. It's not a statistic any more than personality is.

A few magic items don't change that.
So under your view, the spell says change game statistics. It also says explicitly retain nonstatistics alignment and personality. Memory is a nonstatistic that the spell does not address.

Shouldn't the spell RAW only change the game statistics?

If the spell said retain only alignment and personality that would seem different to me. If the spell affirmatively said it changed the nonstatistics elements of the mind of the target that would seem different to me.

In AD&D it specified such changes.

Polymorph Other (Alteration)
Level: 4 Components: V, S, M
Range: ½”/level Casting Time: 4 segments
Duration: Permanent Saving Throw: Neg.
Area of Effect: One creature
Explanation/Description: The polymorph other spell is a powerful magic which completely alters the form and ability, and possibly the personality and mentality, of the recipient. Of course, creatures with a lower intelligence cannot be polymorphed into something with a higher intelligence, but the reverse is possible. The creature polymorphed must make a “system shock” (cf. CONSTITUTION) roll to see if it survives the change. If it is successful, it then acquires all of the form and abilities of the creature it has been polymorphed into. There is a base 100% chance that this change will also change its personality and mentality into that of the creature whose form it now possesses. For each 1 point of intelligence of the creature polymorphed, subtract 5% from the base chance. Additionally, for every hit die of difference between the original form and the form it is changed into by the spell, the polymorphed creature must adjust the base chance percentage by +/-5% per hit die below or above its own number (or level in the case of characters). The chance for assumption of the personality and mentality of the new form must be checked daily until the change takes place. (Note that all creatures generally prefer their own form and will not willingly stand the risk of being subjected to this spell!) If a one hit die orc of 8 intelligence is polymorphed into a white dragon with 6 hit dice, for example, it is 85% (100% - [5% × 8 intelligence] + [(6 - 1) × 5%] = 85%) likely to actually become one in all respects, but in any case it will have the dragon’s physical and mental capabilities; and if it does not assume the personality and mentality of a white dragon, it will know what it formerly knew as well. Another example: an 8th level fighter successfully polymorphed into a blue dragon would know combat with weapons and be able to employ them with prehensile dragon forepaws if the fighter did not take on dragon personality and mentality. However, the new form of the polymorphed creature may be stronger than it looks, i.e. a mummy changed to a puppy dog would be very tough, or a brontosaurus changed to an ant would be impossible to squash merely from being stepped on by a small creature or even a man-sized one. The magic-user must use a dispel magic spell to change the polymorphed creature back to its original form, and this too requires a “system shock” saving throw. The material component of this spell is a caterpillar cocoon.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
So under your view, the spell says change game statistics. It also says explicitly retain nonstatistics alignment and personality. Memory is a nonstatistic that the spell does not address.
Yes it does address it. It gives the non-statistic portions that are retained. If you get told what it is that you retain, you don't retain anything else. That's how it works when written like that. There's no need to say, "You retain X and Y, but not anything else," because "You retain X and Y" means that you retain nothing else.
Shouldn't the spell RAW only change the game statistics?
Why would it be limited to statistics?
If the spell said retain only alignment and personality that would seem different. If the spell affirmatively said it changed the mind of the target that would seem different.
It doesn't need to say that extra bit since what is written means exactly that.

Again, if I say you retain C and X when I banish you to the desert island, you aren't going to assume that you also retain A, B, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y and Z just because I didn't mention them. You're going to know that you get the two items I said you would retain.
 

Voadam

Legend
Yes it does address it. It gives the non-statistic portions that are retained. If you get told what it is that you retain, you don't retain anything else. That's how it works when written like that. There's no need to say, "You retain X and Y, but not anything else," because "You retain X and Y" means that you retain nothing else.
To use your example from earlier, if you say retain your spear gun and flashlight, I don't expect you to mean therefore strip down naked. :)
 

Voadam

Legend
"Retain X and Y" is different from "Retain only X and Y"

It is dangerous and dark on the island, retain your speargun and flashlight when you come out of the ocean.

:)
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Here is Crawford talking about polymorph at about the 7 minute mark. At about the 8:20 mark he says, "All you retain is the core of your personality and your alignment. Everything else changes." At around the 9 and a half minute mark he does say that you will recognize friends, but that it's like being in a chariot that you know how to control(your original body), but suddenly you don't quite know how to use the controls any longer as you are now in a different body with a different brain.

So it seems that it's a combination of my interpretation and some of yours(those on the other side). You aren't free to just think and act with full memories, and have to roleplay the limited intelligence, but intent is for you to recognize friends. It's interesting that he goes out of his way to say that it's the intent to recognize your friends, probably because he realizes that as written you don't or at least it can be interpreted as you don't.

 

Voadam

Legend
I normally go with RAW and ignore Sage advice as it is just someone offical giving their statement and interpretation of the RAW and seems only valid to the point their argument on RAW seems persuasive, but I gave this a listen (for at least the beginning 12 minutes or so).

Driving a new chariot seems a good analogy. Same driver, different vehicle with different capabilities.

A driver switching from a formula racing car to a monster truck or ATV.

This came up in the video as a counter to the idea that if you are starving in the jungle and get turned into a panther that you would attack your friends.

As Crawford says at 10:21 the core of your being is not erased.

If you are a bard with expertise on deception who can fake people out with an insinuating look, body language, verbal misdirection, and compelling cons, once transformed into a rabbit you can still choose to try to feint or whatever, but your character is no longer good at it. The rabbit brain aspect comes up here to the extent game statistics enter the picture. Choosing to do so would still seem to be in concept the player as the character, not the player as a random beast.

A charismatic druid spy trained in deception would be better at deception as a wild shaped rabbit than the more charismatic expertise deception bard polymorphed into a rabbit (game statistics difference) but they could both choose to try to deceive enemies in situations that would be unnatural for a mundane rabbit.
 

Voadam

Legend
Generally D&D is set up for players to decide how to play their characters and exceptions to this are specified.

So the DMG page 5 says the basic play loop is "A player tells the DM what he or she wants to do, and the DM determines whether it is successful or not"

An exception to player agency would be something like the explicit effect of the charm person spell "The charmed creature regards you as a friendly acquaintance." I would give players wide latitude on how they act under a charm person spell, but I would ask them to roleplay regarding the charmer as a friendly acquaintance while under the spell.
 

Of course, creatures with a lower intelligence cannot be polymorphed into something with a higher intelligence, but the reverse is possible.

This made me laugh. Classic AD&D. Of course, the magic system has been laid out so rationally and consistently that this must of course be true... Who would think otherwise?
 

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